Archive for April, 2014

Housing Opportunity Bill in Senate Judiciary

Senators Carson, Lasky, Boutin, Soucy and Cataldo, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will soon decide how they will recommend House Bill 1409 to their colleagues when the bill is put to vote on the Senate floor. HB 1409 is a bill to prohibit discrimination against rental assistance voucher-holders and domestic violence survivors.

Housing Action NH asks for help from members and allies in reaching out to these Senators this week to urge them to recommend passage of the bill.

Our alert is posted here, and includes more background and contact info for these Senators.

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Johnson-Crapo Housing Finance Reform

The US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chair Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) recently released the text of their bipartisan housing finance reform bill. The bill provides for potentially at least $3.5 billion a year for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The Johnson-Crapo bill is built on the framework of S. 1217, the Corker-Warner bill (see Memo to Members6/28), but is more favorable to the NHTF than the earlier bill.

Johnson-Crapo would increase the small state minimum for the distribution of NHTF to be the greater of $10,000,000 or 1% of the NHTF allocation. The exception is if the initial capitalization to the NHTF is less than $1 billion, in which case the small state minimum would be the greater of $5,000,000 or 1% of the NHTF allocation. This is an increase from the current small state minimum of $3,000,000. NH is a small-state minimum state.

The Johnson-Crapo bill would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and create a new Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC) to regulate the secondary mortgage market, similar to the way the FDIC regulates banks.

Fair Housing in NH Progresses

HB 1409, sponsored by Representative Long, would improve the state policy landscape in NH by ending discriminatory rental practices against people with Section 8 vouchers and victims of domestic violence. HB 1409 was amended and passed the House by a slim but bipartisan 147-141 vote, and now heads to the Senate. The official state Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing has found that discriminatory practices against voucher holders and victims of domestic violence challenge fair housing in New Hampshire. HB 1409 would expand NH’s anti-discrimination statute to address the issue.

2014 Out of Reach Report

The 2014 Out of Reach report shows it takes $20.18 an hour to afford a market-rate 2-bedroom apartment in NH. Published annually by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, this year’s report finds that people in the Granite State face the 11th-highest housing costs in the nation. NH does not have its own minimum wage, and follows the Federal standard of $7.25 an hour. In a high housing-cost state like NH, that means anyone working at that rate has to clock 111 hours per week to afford a decent place to live.

Additional NH data can be found at http://nlihc.org/oor/2014/NH. For a national comparison, see http://nlihc.org/oor/2014.